Pet owners are often uncertain whether to bring a sick pet to an after-hours emergency clinic or to wait to call a vet during normal business hours.

Sometimes it is hard to tell whether a situation is truly an emergency. Calling the vet’s office for advice, even near closing time, can provide peace of mind. After business hours, call the emergency clinic and ask to speak to a veterinarian. Usually the vet can help determine whether an emergency visit is necessary or wise.

Any abnormalities should be reported to a vet, and a visit should be scheduled as soon as possible. However, some symptoms and situations require immediate care and cannot wait until the morning. If a pet experiences any of the following, get immediate vet attention; do not wait:

Seizures in pets not already on medication for seizures.

Difficulty breathing or breathing that becomes either shallow or rapid.

The pet is nonresponsive, comatose, wavering or collapsing when walking.

Extreme pain, usually accompanied by rapid breathing and moans of pain. Animals should not be given over-the-counter medication or human prescription medicines.

Ingesting possible poison or a medication that was not meant for the pet, or even a quantity of chocolate. Call the vet immediately or the poison control line for animals at (888) 426-4435. The line is available 24 hours a day.

Vomiting that continues, particularly if blood is in vomit.

Bleeding from mouth or rectum. If it is only a small amount in the stool, it can wait for the vet’s office to open, but if it is blood only, get to the vet ASAP.

When a pet is hit by a vehicle, seek help immediately. While injuries may not be apparent, there could be internal injuries and/or bleeding that could be fatal if not treated immediately.

Always be prepared. Have the veterinarian’s phone number and address handy, as well as an after-hours emergency clinic phone number and address. Recording this information in a cellphone keeps it handy when an emergency arises.

Events

FUNDRAISER: A “Reigning Cats and Dogs” fundraiser to benefit Animal Rescue New Orleans will be held from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday at the Ridgley Center at Brother Martin High School, 4401 Elysian Fields Ave., New Orleans. The event will feature a dog parade, a dance, an auction and a social with food and drinks. The minimum donation is $40 per person. Attire is dressy casual. For information and tickets, contact Ginnie Baumann at (504) 669-1908 or ginnie_baumann@hotmail.com.

KITTEN BOWL: The adorable, athletic Who Dat Cats and French Quarter Felines will take the field of their very own “Supurrdome” during the New Orleans Kitten Bowl and Tailgate Party from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Big Easy Sportsplex, 800 Webb St. The Jefferson SPCA is sponsoring the free event, which will feature kid-friendly games, a raffle, halftime entertainment and an appearance by former LSU baseball coach and athletics director Skip Bertman. For information, contact Jacob Stroman at (504) 931-4777 or Jacob @jeffersonspca.org.

SPAY/NEUTER DISCOUNTS: The Louisiana SPCA Community Clinic is offering $20.15 spay/neuter surgeries through August for all pets residing in Orleans Parish. In addition, microchips will be available at a reduced fee of $10 in conjunction with a spay/neuter surgery or wellness visit, and T-N-R for feral cats will be reduced to $10. To make an appointment to spay/neuter a pet at the clinic, call (504) 363-1333. For information about spay/neuter and other Community Clinic services, visit www.la-spca.org/communityclinic.

LOST OR FOUND PETS: In Orleans Parish, you can send a photo, description of your pet, date lost/found and your contact information to lostandfound@la-spca.org. In Jefferson Parish, email molsen@jeffparish.net and bbourgeois @jeffparish.net, and in St. Bernard Parish, email cluna@sbpg.net.

Traci D. Howerton is social media editor of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a nonprofit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter. Contact ARNO at animalrescuecolumn@gmail.com, www.animalrescueneworleans.org or call its recorded information line at (504) 571-1900.